How to Make a Plaid Pattern

How to Make a Plaid Pattern in Illustrator

In this quick and easy tutorial I’m going to show you how to make a plaid pattern in Adobe Illustrator. This is another seamless pattern that I use in the social sharing graphics on my blog. You can follow along using the colors I have chosen or create your own color scheme.

Step 1:

Open up Illustrator and create a 600px x 600px document. If you are going to be using your pattern for online graphics only, you can set your ppi to 72 and your color mode to RGB.

How to Make a Plaid Pattern Step 1

Step 2:

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 300px x 300px square. Use a light tan fill (#CCC0AB). Lock this layer to avoid selecting it later.

How to Make a Plaid Pattern Step 2

Step 3:

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 300px x 150px rectangle. Use a light blue fill (#83A8B6) and line it up as shown in the image below.

How to Make a Plaid Pattern Step 3

Step 4:

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 300px x 6px rectangle. Use a dark green fill (#42714A). Place it in the center of the blue rectangle, as shown in the image below.

How to Make a Plaid Pattern Step 4

Step 5:

Copy (Ctrl+C) and Paste (Ctrl+V) the green rectangle twice and place them in the tan rectangle as shown in the image below.

How to Make a Plaid Pattern Step 5

Step 6:

Copy (Ctrl+C) and Paste (Ctrl+V) the green rectangle twice. Change the fill color to an off-white (#E4EDED) and place them as shown in the image below.

How to Make a Plaid Pattern Step 6

Step 7:

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create two 300px x 25px rectangles. Fill them with the off-white color (#E4EDED), and place them as shown in the image below.

How to Make a Plaid Pattern Step 7

Step 8:

Select all the layers, except the tan square, with the Selection Tool (V), and use the Rotate Tool (R) to create a copy at a 90 degree angle. Line up the new copies as shown in the image below.

How to Make a Plaid Pattern Step 8

Step 9:

Select all the layers, except the tan square, with the Selection Tool (V), and in the Transparency Panel change the Opacity to 50%.

How to Make a Plaid Pattern Step 9

Step 10:

With the Selection Tool (V), select one of the dark green lines and go to Select–> Same–> Fill Color. With all the dark-green shapes select go to Object–> Arrange –> Bring to Front (Ctrl+Shift+J). Change the Blend Mode to Multiply and the Opacity to 40%.

How to Make a Plaid Pattern Step 10

Step 11:

With the Selection Tool (V), select one of the off-white lines and go to Select–> Same–> Fill Color. With all the off-white shapes select go to Object–> Arrange –> Bring to Front (Ctrl+Shift+J). Change the Blend Mode to Screen and the Opacity to 40%.

How to Make a Plaid Pattern Step 11

Step 12:

Use the Align Tools to make sure that all of your shapes line up perfectly with the edges of the tan square.

How to Make a Plaid Pattern Step 12

Step 13:

Unlock the tan square, select all the shapes and drag them to the Swatches Panel. Create a shape with the Rectangle Tool (M) and fill it with your new pattern to make sure it looks great.

How to Make a Plaid Pattern Step 13

Creating plaid patterns in Illustrator is fun and easy. You can create lots of different plaids by simply changing the number, spacing, or size of the elements you add to it. Or you can use the same elements with different colors. Why not try making plaid patterns using the color schemes created in my earlier tutorial on making simple patterns.

How to Make a Plaid Pattern Step 14

Are there other patterns you would like to learn how to make? Do I need to clarify any of the steps? Let me know in the comments.


Pin for Later

You may also like

7 comments

  • denise August 15, 2017   Reply →

    Thanks, something went wrong in align, what did you align to?

    • Dana August 16, 2017   Reply →

      Sorry for the late reply Denise. I aligned to the background square (the tan square). You can target that by holding down alt when you select it. Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any more problems.

  • Wendi Taylor November 26, 2017   Reply →

    Hi, align didn’t work for me so I left that out. It looks amazing though.

    How about a red/white checkered Italian table cloth pattern?

    Wendi

    • Dana November 26, 2017   Reply →

      I’m glad to hear it still worked out for you Wendi. And I think an Italian table cloth pattern is a great idea. Thanks for your suggestion 🙂

  • Barbara Storey January 20, 2018   Reply →

    I hope I can still leave a comment. I’m totally new to Illustrator, and I loved the idea of creating a plaid, but it didn’t go so well. I had the same trouble with alignment – not sure what the alt equivalent is for Mac – and am not sure I got it all. Also, I couldn’t save it to the Swatch panel. The option to use it from the Swatch panel is only there as along as I keep the document itself open. If I close the file and try to make a bigger file to test the pattern, I no longer have the plaid pattern as an option in the Swatches panel. What am I doing wrong? Sigh.

    • Dana January 20, 2018   Reply →

      Hi Barbara, I’m not sure what the equivalent is for Mac either. I tried to find the answer through googling it, but I wasn’t able to. However, another thing you can do when aligning objects in Illustrator is to make sure that “Align to Key Object” is selected in the pathfinder toolbox Key Object and then just click on the background square to select it as the key object (so, to clarify, you’ll select all the objects you want to align and then click on the object you want to align to – the bounding box will become thicker on the key object, so you’ll know if you selected the correct one. Key Object Bounding Box) In order to bring the pattern swatch into another document you can either save the swatch file (which is a little bit more complicated) or just copy a shape that uses the new pattern for the fill color and paste it into the new document. The pattern swatch will automatically appear in the swatches panel of the new document. Hopefully that makes sense to you. I know that Illustrator is really difficult to learn and I didn’t find it intuitive at all when I was just starting out. Let me know if you still need help and maybe I can put together a quick tutorial on using the align panel and saving swatches.

      • Barbara Storey January 20, 2018   Reply →

        Thanks, Dana – the explanation about aligning above helps, and I’m going to try that. And I did find out about the alt key – on a Mac, it’s the Option key. So I know that now, too!

        A tutorial on aligning AND on saving swatches would be awesome, if you have the time to do that. I need all the help I can get! I’m going to try one of your more basic tutorials on Skillshare, too. I need more basic skills and familiarity with Illustrator just to begin with.

        Thanks again!

Leave a comment